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Congrats Biff!

January 31, 2013 in cricket

Just a quick congratulations to Graeme Smith, he will be captaining a test side for the 100th time tomorrow, a record that will probably stand the test of time and never be broken. he deserves all the accolades and honors he receives tomorrow and we should all be extremely proud of him. He really is a fine example of what South Africans stand for, gusty, steely, no nonsense and of course courageous and fearless.

He has had his critics along the way but has also had extremely loyal supporters (me being one of them) but even the most critic person can no longer brush aside the mans greatness, he truly is a South African Hero and cricketing legend and will one day go down in History as one of the Greatest South African sportsman and one of the greatest cricketers to pick up a bat.

Not only are his achievements with the bat brilliant but his attitude towards do or die situations has been superb, he has always led from the front and carried the team through tough times, there have been moments of diversity and darkness but he has always brought the team out of it, we are now the number 1 test team on the planet and Graeme must get a lot of credit for that. he is truly an inspiration to South Africans who want to achieve their goals in life, I wish him all the best for tomorrow and for the rest of his career. good luck and thank you Biff

 

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. ”
Harry S. Truman

 

The Stuff of Legend – Part 2

January 23, 2013 in cricket

Last week, we had a look at the beginning of the Proteas rise to dominance in test cricket and although South Africa had been playing excellent Test cricket for a while (such as series wins in Eng and Aus in 2008/2009) they lacked a certain consistent ruthlessness that said “we are South Africa and we WILL NOT be beaten” as Graeme Smith puts it, the Proteas are now able to “skin the carcass” and although that might be a strange way of putting it, put some thought into it and Smiths words are spot on. A few comments last week suggested I may be jumping the gun and that a clean sweep of the Black caps is hardly anything to gloat about, well that may be true (although any clean sweep where all matches are won by an innings is cause for excitement) Winning series away against England and Australia for a second consecutive time is probably one of the finest achievements in test cricket especially since only one other team has done it in the games history. Last week we spoke about the indifferent home series against Australia and the satisfying series against Sri Lanka, it was now onto New Zealand then a mighty challenge in England where the number 1 ranking would be up for grabs.

Click here for part 1

 

7 – 27 March –South Africa are tasked with a 3 match test series against Lowly ranked NZ, expectations are that South Africa will brush them aside and that this is just preparation for the

Philander again showed off his impressive accuracy

England tour later in the year, only two members of the current South African team have played test cricket in New Zealand, Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis.

Smith and Amla made no mistake in chasing the Total the Black caps set them.

The first test in Dunedin is drawn and despite centuries from Graeme Smith (115) Jacques Kallis (113) and Jacques Rudolph (105) weather gets the better of the match and the Proteas can not force a result. The disappointment of the 1st drawn test would be overshadowed by a 9 wicket win for the Proteas in Hamilton, Vernon philander again showed he is something special with match figures of 10-114 and Graeme Smith scoring a meaty 4th innings 55 not out to take his team to victory, South Africa were now up 1-0 in the series with the final match to be played in Wellington. There would however be bad news for Smith and his men and despite a massive first innings score of 474 thanks to hundreds by Alviro Petersen (156) and JP Duminy (103) the weather once again had the final say despite an aggressive declaration by Graeme Smith. The Proteas had won the Series 1-0 and it was more than a satisfying result. Captain Graeme Smith continued his rise in form as he finished as the leading run scorer with 282 runs at an average of 56.40.

 

19 July – 20 August –  South Africa’s next challenge was a big one, they were to go to England to play a 3 match test series (Basil D’Oliveira Trophy) but there was more at stake, much more. Should South Africa win the series they would overtake England as the number one ranked side in world cricket. The task was massive and would take a top performance by the Proteas,

Graeme Smith became only the 7th player in History to score a ton in his 100th test match

they were up for the challenge, what made matters even more interesting was that South Africa’s captain Graeme Smith was to play in his 100th test match in the first test at the oval.

The first test, probably the most spectacular of the series started on a rocky note for South Africa as Alistair Cook’s ton guided England to 267-3 after day 1, South Africa needed something special if they were to get back into the match and as they so often do, South Africa fought back and England lost their last 7 wickets for only 118 runs to be bowled out for 385. South Africa’s reply started disastrously as Alviro Petersen was struck LBW for a duck but what was to come would be sketched in the record books forever.

Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla came together at the cease and tormented England’s bowling attack into the ground, Graeme Smith’s 50 came off 160 balls, his slowest 50 ever, and his dual with Graeme Swann was scintillating, but it was after reaching his 50 that Smith opened up and smashed the bowlers to all parts of the park, and it was in the 64th over that the special moment came when smith hit Tim Bresnan for two consecutive boundaries to bring up the South African captains 25th Test Hundred and in doing so became only the 7th player in history to score a hundred in their hundredth test, He received a standing ovation as if playing in front of the Newlands Cape Town crowd. Smith departed for 131 for a majestic innings and it was now the Kallis and Amla show.

Jacques Kallis brought up his ton on day 4, pointing to his eye in honor of his best friend Mark Boucher who sadly, had been struck in the eye by a bail in a warm up match and was forced to announce his retirement from international cricket. Kallis went on to make 182. but the real millstone was still to come, a man who’s beard probably grew a few millimeters during his innings, the Might hash became the first South African in cricketing history to score 300 runs in an innings, it was simply fantastic, and by the time Graeme Smith declared Amla was on 311 not out, a number that will stay in the minds of South Africans for a very, very long time. South Africa had plenty of runs on the board, they couldn’t lose, and it was now up to the bowlers to deliver and deliver they did. Led by Dale Steyn (5-fer) South Africa bowled England out of the game during the last session to take a 1-0 lead with two tests to come. The second test match ended in a draw but some top batting displays were on offer, most notably 182 by Alviro Petersen and a fantastic

In another record, Hashim Amla became the first South African to score a triple hundred

149 by Kevein Pietersen, Proteas captain Graeme Smith also weighed in with two 50’s. The third match which was another milestone for SA great Graeme Smith who was to overtake Alan Border as the most capped test captain but this achievement was overshadowed by the Kevin Petersen SMS sagas which also lead to KP being dropped for the 3rd and final test. The 3rd test was a nervous one for the Proteas as their top order flopped in their second innings, but another fantastic hundred from Amla saw them post a decent total and set up a scintillating final day at the home of cricket. Lords.

England’s chase was a show of fight back and character, It was also England captain Andrew Strauss’s 100th but unfortunately for him, he was not about to have the same joy Graeme Smith did in his 100th and despite top batting performances by Trott, Bairstow and Matt prior aided by contributions by Swann and Broad England fell just short and South Africa won the series and become the number 1 ranked team in the world. It was a sign of things to come

 

South Africa became the number 1 team in Test cricket after the Series victory in England

 

Part 3 to follow next week

 

CAN’T UPLOAD PICTURES, ATT : BLOG-ED

January 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

Mr Blog Ed how about some help? Powachair reported the upload image function was not working last week already, I see some can upload and others can’t.

 

The error is :

 

“138979.jpg” has failed to upload due to an error
The uploaded file could not be moved to /var/www/html/blogs.sport24.co.za/wp-content/blogs.dir/382/files/2013/01.

 

Please can we at least have a bit of feedback? Shot

Proteas – The Stuff of Legend part 1

January 17, 2013 in cricket

 

Sitting back and actually really reflecting on all that the Proteas have achieved in the last 12 or so months is more than just an eye opener, it’s a realization that we could be watching not only the best ever Proteas side but maybe, just maybe a side that will go down as on of the best ever in world crickets history. The way the Proteas have gone about their business has been relentless and ruthless and when it hasn’t been utter dominance it’s been gritty and no nonsense cricket by the South Africans.

 I don’t think us as South Africans fully understand exactly what the boys have achieved recently and I think it’s time to recap a little here.

 

9-21 November 2011 – Australia arrived on our shores to play a controversially shortened 2 match test series against, at the time, 2ndranked South Africa. The first test match at Newlands

Michael Clarke was in disbelief

makes headlines across the globe as 23 wickets tumble in one day. The Proteas were dismissed for 96 with a top score by Graeme smith of 36 as all-rounder Shane Watson tore through the South African order before a disastrous 2nd innings catastrophe saw Australia bowled out for 47 with a top score by number 11 Nathan Lyon of 14 and Vernon Philander capturing a breathtaking 5 for 15.

South Africa go into their second innings with a target of 236 runs to win. After the turmoil in previous sessions, it seemed like mission impossible, however as he so often does in diversity, Graeme Smith (101 not out) together with Hashim Amla (112) smashed their ways to centuries to lead South Africa to a win and a 1-0 series lead with one match to come. The second match in Johannesburg proved to be fruitless for the Proteas and despite another magnificent Amla hundred it was not enough to stop an Australian victory.

 

Home Series result DRAWN 1-1

Vernon Philander took 8-78

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15Dec-6 January 2011/2012– A test series against Sri Lank was always going to be tricky and South Africa had to find away to improve their home record which at the time looked

Jacques Kallis smashed his way to a second test double ton

worse than their away record. Sri Lanka’s strength was always going to be their batting with the likes of Dilshan, Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, but could they handle the bouncy fast paced pitches of South Africa?  The first match proved a one sided affair as Sri Lanka were put in to bat by Graeme Smith and skittled out for 180 before South Africa amassed 411 with half centuries coming from Smith, Boucher and AB de Villiers who was caught on 99. Sri Lanka failed to apply the pressure as they were all out for 150 in their second innings giving the Proteas an innings and 81 run victory. The second test match was played at the Proteas Hoodoo venue, Kingsmead in Durban and once again proved a ground too much for South Africa as they were bowled out for 168 in their first innings and never recovered which meant going into the last test with the series deadlocked at 1-1. The Proteas had nothing to worry about as they were playing this series deciding match at Newlands, Cape Town a cricketing fortress for the Proteas, and it did not disappoint as the Proteas smashed Sri Lanka by 10 wickets led by a Kallis double ton, his second in test cricket and top contributions by Alviro Petersen (109) and AB de Villiers (160 not out) South Africa had won the series.

 

Home Series result WON 2-1

Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers and captain Graeme Smith with their trophies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 2 to come next week

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